He modelled himself on the Roman theatre as reflected by the plays of Ariosto, and he avowedly wrote the Estrangeiros to combat the school of Gil Vicente, while in it, as in Os Vilhalpandos, the action takes place in Italy.
Moreover the favour of the court was withdrawn on the death of Gil Vicente, and this meant much, for there existed no educated middle class to support a national theatre.
This is shown by palaeontological evidence; and some of the most successful bores, such as those at Coonamble, Moree, Gil Gil and Euroka, have pierced rocks of Triassic age, corresponding with the Ipswich Coal Measures.
Moreover, women took a share in the intellectual movement of the time, and the sisters Luisa and Angela Sigea, Joanna Vaz and Paula Vicente, daughter of Gil Vicente, constituted an informal female academy under the presidency of the Infanta D.
Bernardim Ribeiro, Christovam Falcao, Gil Vicente, and SA de Miranda, who represent the transition between the Spanish school of the i 5th and the Italian school of the 16th century, the members of which are called Os Quinhentistas.
He chose his subjects from the national history, and began with the Auto de Gil Vicente, in which he resuscitated the founder of the theatre, and followed this up with other prose plays, among which the Alfageme de Santarem takes the palm; finally he crowned his labours by Frei Luiz de Sousa, a tragedy of fatality and pathos and one 'of the really notable pieces of the century.
The tragedy of Douglas was suggested to him by hearing a lady sing the ballad of Gil Morrice or Child Maurice (F.
On the other hand Portugal gave birth to no considerable dramatist from the time of Gil Vicente, in the 16th century, until that of Garrett in the 19th, and it has failed to develop a national drama.
He translated Gil Blas, adopting more or less seriously Voltaire's unfounded suggestion that Le Sage plagiarized from Espinel's Marcos de Obregon, and other Spanish books; the text appeared in 1783, and in 1828 was greatly modified by Evaristo Pena y Martin, whose arrangement is still widely read.
His comedies give a truthful and interesting picture of 18th century society, especially his best comedy, the Alec rim e Mangerona, in which he treats of the fidalgo pobre, a type fixed by Gil Vicente and Francisco Manoel de Mello.